When I was a kid, there were only three kinds of apples that I knew of, green ones, red ones, and yellow ones. I liked the green ones the most as I tend to like things on the tart side, and I loved our trips from San Francisco up to Sebastopol inorder to pick Gravenstein apples. Gravensteins are now known as a heritage fruit. So there. Back in the day, they weren't that classy... of course there were a lot more orchards of Gravensteins back then. They've since been removed for wine grapes and buildings, so it is what it is. Nowadays, Gravensteins are available around here at the end of the Summer and everyone scoops up all they can get their pie hooks on. So what does this cake have to do with Gravensteins?? Not much except if you can get some, they'd be great in this recipe.
Every year when apple season rolls around, I'm always amazed at the variety of apples grown around here in Sonoma County and parts north: Cameos, Braeburns, Pink Ladys. Before I ever heard of Pink Lady apples the only Pink Ladies I knew were these two
Anyway, the point is there are a lot of apples out there. This cake only requires two types of Granny Smiths for the filling, and Braeburn for the sliced apple topping. The cake is very simple to put together. The only tough part is peeling and coring the apples which when put together on a list of anyone's problem is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down toward the bottom. The cake is also naturally gluten free since it's made with almond flour. The best part however is that you can bake this in the afternoon and have it for dinner that night, or even earlier if you don't care about spoiling your appetite.
Sorry, but I couldn't resist.
So what besides my love of apples led me to bake this cake? It all started with a platter. A few weeks back I met Mary Jurek of Mary Jurek Designs. I have bought a few of her pieces in the past, and am a huge fan of everything she makes. Our new house is a mid century modern and when we renovated we went looking for beautiful, clean, simple, modern designs to fill it. Mary Jurek's pieces totally fit the bill. I love things that are simple, functional and elegant, and so when Mary offered to send me a platter with the challenge to make something wonderful to put on it, I had to come up with something platter-worthy. Thus, this Apple Almond Holiday Cake.
Apple Almond Gluten Free Cake
Here's What You Need:
3 1/4 cups of almond flour
8 eggs (room temperature)
1 3/4 cups of sugar plus 1 tsp sugar
3 Granny Smith apples
2 Braeburn apples
1 tsp vanilla plus 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs unflavored oil (Canola etc)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds
1 10 inch springform pan
butter for greasing pan and paper
Here's What To Do:
Grease the springform pan.
Cut out a round of parchment paper and fit it into the bottom of the pan.
When it's in the bottom of the pan, grease the paper also.
Set the pan aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the almond flour and the sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Blend them together.
Peel and core 3 Granny Smith apples.
Chunk them up and place them in a small pot.
Add in 1 tsp sugar...
...1/2 tsp cardamom and 1/2 tsp cinnamon...
...1 Tbs lemon juice...
Mix everything together well, place over medium heat and cook gently while keeping a lid on the pan. You want the apple chunks to get soft.
Stir every now and then to make sure nothing burns or sticks. This usually takes about 10 minutes or less.
When the apples are soft mash them to a thick puree.
Set the puree aside to cool.
Meanwhile back at the stand mixer, add the eggs, one at a time making sure each is well blended in before adding another one.
Keep the mixer on a relatively low speed. I use Speed 2.
Add in 1 tsp vanilla.
When the apples you mashed have cooled a bit, add them to the batter in the stand mixer.
Mix until everything is well blended, then set aside.
Peel and slice the Braeburn apples into 1/4 inch thick wedges.
In a small skillet heat the honey and oil together.
When they are blended together and warm, add in the Braeburn apple slices.
When they are coated, take the skillet off the heat and add in the 1/2 tsp of vanilla.
Pour the cake batter into the springform pan.
Scatter the top with the sliced almonds.
Take the Braeburn apple slices and arrange them in a pinwheel shape in the center of the cake.
Take the juices from the skillet and drizzle them over the top of the cake.
Put the cake pan on the center rack of the oven.
Bake for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Check the cake at the 35 minute mark. If it's getting too brown you may cover part of it with some foil to protect it. I've never had to do this but every oven is different.
Take the cake out when it's done, and set the pan on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before you remove it from the springform pan.
I placed the cake on Mary Jureks' beautiful scalloped metal platter, it was like they were made to be together.
We served it up plain, but if you wish you can top it with a bit of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Coming up next....a great recipe from a very unexpected source. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori